Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets leads the new cinema releases and trailers August 4th 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets This week, there are EIGHT new films out for you to choose from: Luc Besson’s latest sci-fi actioner – and similar in style to The Fifth Element – in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the Morrissey story in England Is Mine, a drama based around the storming of the Iranian Embassy, London in 6 Days, an intriguing new British drama with Alice Lowe and Dan Skinner in The Ghoul, a surprising comedy/drama in Land of Mine, oriental action in Wolf Warriors II, Sally Hawkins stars as housekeeper Maud Lewis – aka Maudie, and then there’s… er… Emoji Movie.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – seeing this trailer for the first time and Luc Besson‘s name just shouted The Fifth Element at me, although I didn’t realise at first that the film is based on the classic graphic novel series, Valerian and Laureline, portrayed by the brilliant Dane DeHaan and the weird-eyebrowed model Cara Delevingne, and it could either be a huge sci-fi spectacle or the next Jupiter Ascending.

Valerian and Laureline are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner – blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive her to continuously rebuff him. Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe.

Directed by Luc Besson, and also starring John Goodman and Rutger Hauer, I’ll go and take a look at this, but I’m not sure how successful it’ll be.

That said, the media loved Spider-Man Homecoming and Wonder Woman, both of which I thought were meh. They hate this, so I’ll probably love it!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

England Is Mine is a portrait of Steven Patrick Morrissey (Dunkirk‘s Jack Lowden) and his early life in 1970’s Manchester before he went on to become lead singer of seminal 80’s band The Smiths.

I love the music of both the man and the band, and frequently dance like a loon to it when it comes on in clubs in Manchester, as it all sounds as great today as it did back in the day. The film hasn’t had great reports, but I am still looking forward to it.

Director: Mark Gill
Writers: Mark Gill, William Thacker
Also stars: Jessica Brown Findlay, Jodie Comer, Laurie Kynaston, Simone Kirby, Peter McDonald, Finney Cassidy

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

6 Days

In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid the world had never seen the likes of.

This piece of history is one of the earliest I remember seeing on TV as a young child, and the dramatisation of it looks fascinating, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing this.

Director: Toa Fraser
Writer: Glenn Standring
Stars: Mark Strong, Jamie Bell, Abbie Cornish, Martin Shaw, Tim Pigott-Smith

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Ghoul

A homicide detective goes undercover as a patient to investigate a psychotherapist he believes is linked to a strange double murder. As his therapy sessions continue the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur.

This looks quite a bizarre British thriller, but with a cast including Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Dan Skinner (Notes on Blindness), it does look one to watch.

Writer/Director: Gareth Tunley
Also stars: Tom Meeten, Rufus Jones, Niamh Cusack, Geoffrey McGivern

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Land of Mine (Under Sandet)

In post-World War II Denmark, the Danish government puts their hated German prisoners of war to work clearing the 1.5 million land mines from the western beaches of the country. At one such beach, Sgt. Carl Leopold Rasmussen finds himself in charge of one such labour unit and finds they are largely all inexperienced boys. As the boys struggle to complete and survive their dangerous work, Sgt. Rasmussen’s hate for Germans gradually cools as he grows to understand the horrific situation these child soldiers are in even as the mines claim more and more victims. Eventually, the boys and the Sergeant must decide what can be done in a situation that would be later be denounced by later generations as the worst war crime in Danish history.

Land of Mine looks to be a surprising comedy/drama that could be one of the week’s best.

Writer/Director: Martin Zandvliet
Stars: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Wolf Warriors II

China’s deadliest special forces operative settles into a quiet life on the sea. When sadistic mercenaries begin targeting nearby civilians, he must leave his newfound peace behind and return to his duties as a soldier and protector.

I’ve not seen the first one, but this looked quite a decent hi-octane actioner from the trailer, so I get the impression that story continuity isn’t the most important thing, and that this will be easy to get into.

Director: Jing Wu
Stars: Jing Wu, Frank Grillo, Celina Jade

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Maudie centres around the titular arthritic lady from Nova Scotia, Maud Lewis, played by Sally Hawkins, who works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community.

Directed by Aisling Walsh, and also starring Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Billy MacLellan and Zachary Bennett, the trailer shows this has had many critical plaudits, and I think Sally is a great actress, ever since her “Ping” in Ed Reardon’s Week on Radio 4, but I wasn’t wowed by this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Emoji Movie? Seriously? Did IQs drop sharply while I was away? I know Hollywood has completely run out of ideas, but jeez!

The only good thing I can say about this is that the majority of the trailer features US comedian Steven Wright, who most filmgoers may know best as the radio DJ being heard introducing songs during Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. However, I can guarantee this film will be nowhere near as good.

The plot? Apparently, this film unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions.

Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever.

God, it sounds awful!

Directed by Anthony Leondis (B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations – if it ever sees the light of day), and also starring TJ Miller (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Ilana Glazer and… oh no, James Corden, I’ll be giving this a big miss.

Still, if it’s your bag, then you’ll be pleased because Emoji Movie has been brought forward from October 13th to this weekend.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!